Ensuring the safety of individuals and communities, without referencing the sources of information.
How was the Omicron first detected, and how is it a variant of concern (VoC)?
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared on 27th November that the Omicron COVID-19 variant is a ‘variant of concern.’ This new strain has caused alarm in many countries, leading to the closure of bbuys and the implementation of further restrictions. South Africa first detected the Omicron variant on 24th November 2021, and it has since been reported in Botswana. While there have been few cases reported in USA and India, the WHO has found that there is an increased risk of reinfection with Omicron compared to other variants of concern.
According to the WHO, how dangerous is the Omicron variant, and how will the world deal with this menace?
The WHO has assessed the global risk related to the Omicron variant as very high. Scientists are racing to understand how dangerous this new strain is, while countries are taking measures to contain it. The Omicron variant has an unprecedented number of spike mutations, some of which could have a significant impact on the pandemic.
Symptoms of the Omicron variant
If you are worried about the Omicron variant and want to know its symptoms, here is what you need to know. Symptoms of this variant are said to be ‘extremely mild’ but ‘unfamiliar.’ Patients infected with this COVID-19 variant have reported extreme tiredness, mild muscle aches, a scratchy throat, and a dry cough. Only a few patients have reported a slightly high temperature, and most have recovered without hospitalization.
Protection from vaccines
Existing COVID vaccines may struggle against the Omicron variant, and it may take some time to develop a new vaccine that works against it. However, some components of the immune system, such as T cells, can clear out the Omicron infection quickly if it does occur, thus protecting us from severe illnesses due to the variant.
Detection of the Omicron variant
Detection of the variant is essential to curb its spread. The World Health Organization has said that it can be detected in some RT-PCR tests. If one of the three target genes is not detected (known as the S gene dropout), this test could be used as a marker for the Omicron variant.
To protect yourself from the Omicron variant, it is important to follow general COVID protocols such as washing and sanitizing your hands regularly, wearing face masks properly whenever you step out, maintaining a minimum distance of about 6 feet or 2 meters from others, avoiding crowded places, following government COVID guidelines, and stepping out of your house only when necessary. If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, isolate yourself and get tested immediately.